Self-Injury - TV Show Blog

Heather McCready, experienced days filled with "desperate sadness and intense darkness" and was diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder and then hospitalized for mania and suicidal depression. Ms. McCready's voyage through mental illness deprived her of her creative abilities for six years. Finally, after all medicines failed, she underwent electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and now enjoys fewer dark days.
Some people who find themselves dealing with a mental illness or the illness of a loved one eventually come to a point where they want to pitch in and help the mental health community. Mental health advocacy can feel like a natural progression to some and to others it is surprising or unexpected. No matter how it comes about, it is always remarkable when a person utilizes their challenges in life, like mental illness, to do good in the world. Our guest, Shannon Flynn, does just that as a mental health advocate.
I was reading one of the self-injury conference transcripts on HealthyPlace about getting help for self-harm.  In it, Dr. Sharon Farber, therapist and author of When The Body Is The Target: Self-Harm, Pain and Traumatic Attachments, discusses her belief that self-injury is an addictive behavior.  And it got me thinking, like many addicts, do self-injurers carry on their self-injurious behaviors throughout their lives, do they face relapses over time, and is it something they manage, much like any other addict who fights the urge to return to the bottle or some other addictive substance?
I began self-injuring at age 13, after I felt like I wasn't understood by anyone and fell into a deep depression (What Is Self-Harm, Self-Injury?). Fights with my parents, having a hard time with school, and general anxiety prompted me to self-injure for the first time, because I felt like it calmed my nerves and alleviated my anger almost instantly. From there, I began using self-injury to respond to almost every emotional situation - be it sad, angry, disappointed, depressed, or general thoughts of self-loathing and body image. I felt like it numbed all of my emotional reactions and I began to depend on it.
Imagine being a cutter, self-injurer, for many years. Wanting to stop, even stopping off-and-on, but always returning to it. Our HealthyPlace TV Show, this coming Tuesday, March 10, is titled: "I am a self-injurer and I cannot stop." Our guest is Dana. You can read a bit more about her struggle with self-injury and see an intro video here.